Holly Jean Buck


“End fossil fuels” is a popular slogan. However, despite the Paris Agreement’s ask of countries to formulate long-term strategies for low-carbon development, no one has successfully made a road map of how to phase out fossil fuels. What we have instead are net-zero strategies, which have some strategic ambiguity about fossil fuel use. There is no coherent discipline or field of study on how to end fossil fuels commensurate with the challenge and the knowledge needs. This short talk will examine the status quo of the governance of fossil fuel phaseout and then look at how both modeled interventions of behavioral change and new carbon technology uses that solve for 1.5 degrees Celsius also have a missing throughline of policy and politics. In other words, an interdisciplinary practice is needed to map the terrain between the present moment and these modeled worlds. We will consider what is needed to build this field.

Holly Jean Buck is an assistant professor of environment and sustainability at the University at Buffalo. She is an environmental social scientist whose research focuses on public engagement with emerging climate and energy technologies. She is the author of “After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair, and Restoration” (Verso, 2019) and “Ending Fossil Fuels: Why Net Zero Is Not Enough” (Verso, 2021) and holds a Ph.D. in development sociology from Cornell University.

De Lange Conference



Scientia MS–8 | P.O. Box 1892 | Houston, TX 77251-1892